Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep.
She was standing on the other side of the glass, gazing at the darkness that held the room where she’d grown up, where she’d spent the first fifteen years of her life. The darkness behind the glass whispered to her, held so many of her screams, her unanswered pleas, her sobbing whispers into heavy silence. Her hands trembled slightly, hesitating over the switch that would flood the room with light. Abruptly, the monster took her, and she pressed down, clicking the switch into place.
Cecelia opened her eyes.
Dear Sir or Madam,
My name is Carolyn Glatz. I am a dedicated, hard-working, team-oriented individual who is completely committed to using my skills to help your company. I have a reputation for being extremely punctual, goal-driven and able to excel even when working without supervision. My motivation for applying for this position is to use my skills to help your company excel in the business world.
I’ll be honest. I’m so incredibly sick and tired of writing these cover letters. Every cover letter “guide” I’ve read tells me that I’m supposed to be selling myself – and as such, I need to make myself sound much more awesome than I am.
Well, I’m not awesome, or perfect. I’m applying for this job because I need to make money to… you know. Stay alive. While I’m sure there are idealistic individuals who are only concerned about “helping” a company, I need to eat. And pay the rent on my tiny one-bedroom apartment. And feed my three cats. So, because this obviously isn’t possible without money, I’m trying to find a job.
Sure, most of the stuff I wrote in the first paragraph is probably true. If I were hired, I’d be on time, and work hard. However, my reason for that would be because I’d want to keep my job. You see, I’m not motivated by anything other than my own selfish desire to maintain a standard of living. Hopefully, one day, I can work hard enough so that I can get a better job, and a better paycheck. Maybe move into a nicer apartment, and stop eating Top Ramen for two meals a day. If I’m lucky, one day I can work myself out of the incredible debt of student loans and unpaid medical bills, and actually build enough credit to buy a house. To accomplish this, I need to work hard enough to move up in a company, acquire more responsibility, and a higher paycheck. You see? That’s what motivates me.
Frankly, for the number of these letters you probably read each day – I think you deserve some honesty. I’m tired of writing cookie-cutter cover letters that force me to lie about why I want a job. Also, you know what? I’m not just applying to your company. I’ve probably written about a hundred cover letters, and sent out a hundred copies of my resume. I don’t think your company is any more likely to hire me than the companies I sent out my boring, boiler-plate letters to. I’m sure you read dozens of resumes per day, and while mine is certainly interesting, I probably don’t meet your qualifications, not from a technical standpoint.
So, I decided to write you an honest letter about why I want this job. If you don’t like it – Hey, I completely understand. Someone who decides to break apart from the norm isn’t exactly the type of employee that most companies are looking for. You want someone who will follow instructions and not ask too many questions.
Well, that isn’t me. I need to be challenged. I need to be engaged. I always have questions, or new ideas, or ways I think certain things could work better. I’m not content with being always at the bottom, and simply following instructions. I want to know why something works, and if anyone has considered a way to make it work better. Basically, I want to conquer the world.
Anyway, I honestly don’t expect a reply back from you, since you’ll probably write this off as a cheap way to make my cover letter “stand out”. Well… yes, it is, at least partially. However, most of the inspiration for this came from my frustration with the “required sucking-up” to be hired for a position. Instead, I choose to embrace honesty, as ugly as it may be at times.
Random excerpts from “Shadowgates”. This is pre-editing - I don’t have access to my edited copy right now. So… this is “First Draft” material. Try to ignore the grammar errors and awkward dialogue.
The room was enveloped in a blanket of silence, darkness clouding the space in obscurity. There was a vagueness to it all, as if the entire scene was cloaked in a fine mist. A child’s teddy bear sat in one corner, bright button eyes reflecting the far-away light of the streetlamps outside the window. A crib sat in another corner, long since filled with a variety of toys, books and other items for a small child. The room’s wallpaper was pink, sporting designs of happy cartoon animals dancing under a pink-and-blue sky. Somewhere far-off, the dim sound of a TV left on was the only thing that occasionally punctuated the silence.
Outside the small room was a dark blue carpet, which ran the length of the hallway. It ended right before a door, which was left slightly open, a sliver of light spilling out to paint a line of brightness on the carpet. Through the door was a plush bed, with expensive Egyptian sheets, the comforter pulled back as if inviting someone into the luxurious escape of sleep.
Despite its softness, the perfection of the bedroom was marred, as blood spattered droplets had long-since sunk into the costly fabric. The blood spilled down the side of the bed, and was sprayed over the ceiling, coating the pale pastel green walls in a macabre Picasso-esque masterpiece. Underneath the dresser, bent wire frames were smashed, the glass between them crushed and gritted into spilled blood. A soft white slipper lay a short distance off, its white spongy fabric having absorbed enough blood so that it appeared to be mostly crimson. On the floor near the window, was a single, bloody handprint smeared on the polished wood. Beside it, lay a single white object, a pearlescent reflection of the small amount of light that was still thrown off from the askew bedroom lamp – a human tooth.
The scene was unimaginably still, until a small voice came from the doorway, a child that had manifested out of the darkness. She had tousled dark hair, which was teased out at odd angles. Her hands were dirty, and she clutched a threadbare white rabbit, which was missing an ear.
The child crept up to the bed, tugging at the sheets, seemingly oblivious to the blood that clung to her tiny hands.
“Mommy?” she whispered, her voice suddenly rising in fright. “Mommy!”
Her voice echoed off the stillness of the room, the far-off TV still humming somewhere downstairs. Suddenly, the sound of the TV stopped, and the scene was enveloped in a heavy, expectant silence. The little girl turned around, wide eyes blinking, as the dull sound of footsteps on wood came from downstairs.
“Mommy?” Her whispered voice was faint, but hopeful. She dropped the sheets again, her hands leaving bloody prints on the fabric. The footsteps got closer. “Mommy!” The little girl reached her hands up, outstretched, as the half-open door swung slowly inward.
A man stood there, slightly back from the doorway, his face still shrouded in darkness. The little girl’s face fell, and she bit her lip. She blinked, her eyes innocent, tilting her head to one side.
“Have you seen my mommy?”
The man didn’t reply, but took a step into the room, the light accenting the harsh angles of his face. He looked down at the girl, without any recognizable emotion in his expression. Another set of footsteps approached behind him, stopping in the darkness beyond the doorway.
“Is this the child?” This voice was harsh, slipping from the darkness.
“Yes. The parents are dead.”
“Did she see anything?”
The man inside the room didn’t respond, but bent closer to the girl. Perhaps sensing danger, her gaze shifted from hopeful to frightened.
“I want my mommy!” She backed away, her bare feet slippery as she stepped into the blood pooled by the side of the bed. She fell back, a light splash as blood droplets spattered around the dresser, and over the floor.
The men glanced at each other, then back at the girl.
“We can arrange something. She could be the same as the parents.”
“And if that happens?”
“She’s a liability, either way.”
The two men closed in on the girl, their faces unreadable. They pulled their bunched-up masks over their eyes, obscuring their features entirely. The little girl cried out, backing up against the dresser, her bloody hands still clutching the stained, torn rabbit.
She realized then that they had danced themselves out onto the balcony where she’d been trying to run to earlier. The wind was cool, dancing through her curls, mimicking the dancing lights that played in the Terran night sky.
“Darkan,” she whispered suddenly, unsure of what she would say. “I…”
Suddenly, his lips were on hers, their softness stealing her breath as she gasped in surprise. To her even greater surprise, she kissed him back, her arms twining up to circle around his head. He eased his mouth over hers gently, then suddenly with a hunger, a need that made Miri’s heart race. His hands cradled her face, his fingers tangled in her hair. She clutched at him, sliding her hands over his skin, unable to understand the incredible feeling that made her body tremble and shiver beneath his touch.
Suddenly, he broke the kiss, and his face was inches from hers. He was breathing hard, his breath warm against her cheek. Miri was frozen, unable to move while his fingers still traced the back of her neck. His touch was light and tense, as if he was holding something back.
“This is forbidden,” he whispered suddenly, his voice sounding broken and hoarse. He exhaled sharply, quickly stepping back from Miri. “And I am a fool.”
Without another word, he strode off of the balcony.
The light suddenly glowed, though it seemed to cast no light on Miri, or on the room. A roaring sound was heard.
“I am but one,” the voice hissed. “The humans have already accepted us. This will accomplish nothing.”
“You are the one that came to me that night,” Miri whispered. “I watched you kill my parents, watched you butcher them before my eyes.” She felt strange, her skin was buzzing all over, her body feeling like it was on fire. “I will have no more of you, threatening me, making me feel the same fear that cripples all of your victims!”
The roaring increased, the light turning blinding, flashing in indescribable patterns on the ceiling. Miri felt her body suddenly buzzing with power, her skin humming, as if she was brimming with light.
“You cannot stop ussss….” The voice hissed again, though there was more malice in it this time. “We will destroy you, we will make you ours. We will pull your body apart, dismember you while still alive. You will rue the day that you…”
The voice was suddenly cut off by a horrible, pitching, howling noise, wailing and echoing. It was thin, keening, nearly piercing in its intensity, but Miri didn’t notice. She didn’t know how she knew what to do, but suddenly the power was all within her, opening the gate. For a brief moment she glimpsed the world on the other side of the gate, a place with craggy swirling darkness and sharply angled structures. The wailing increased, as the creature that had been tormenting her screamed, its scream becoming thinner, stretched out as it was pulled through the gate. There was a popping sound, and the roaring suddenly ebbed, rushing out of the air with an audible whoosh.
Miri didn’t hear any of that, for her eyes were already closing, her body spent, having used up every last reserve of her strength. She fell softly on to the bed behind her, her fingers still clutching the matted, bloody fur of the stuffed rabbit. As her eyes fluttered closed, she saw another light approaching her, something strange, wondrous and beautiful to behold. There was suddenly a face, and her mother appeared, her expression gentle and understanding. Her father was there as well, smiling at her with open arms. They were waiting for her, welcoming her into the beautiful light, and a sudden, calming peace descended on her last threads of consciousness. Miri reached out for her parents, her fingers brushing against theirs as she dissolved into the light.